My Daddy: His Voyage Has Ended

I rarely post anything this personal, but, the death of a parent is something most of us will face. I’m hoping this will comfort you, as it has me.

My father died in December. I’m still in disbelief about his death. He was never sick and always full of life. He was 85 and could still jump up out of his LazyBoy like he was 16. Just a few weeks before, my husband and I had been commenting to each other about how healthy he looked.

Mama is the one with health issues. Her back has troubled her for years and she constantly suffers with sinus infections. The neuropathy in her feet has gotten worse. She moves slowly. Daddy always waits for her and gets the door to help her inside. So when he was diagnosed with cancer we were stunned. Two months later, we still are.

He was diagnosed 2 weeks before Thanksgiving and died 2 weeks after. There’s a lot to be thankful in that, and we are. Still, I miss him.

I have often thought of the day when I would see my grandparents again. And when Daddy became sick,  I thought how precious it would be for him to see them again,  along with his older brother who died at the age of 9 and his baby sister, who was stillborn. Not to mention his grandparents and great grandparents..all of whom were strong Christians.  They left this world, trusting in Jesus and knowing there were better days ahead, when there’d be no more sorrow. 

There’s no doubt that my daddy wouldn’t have come back to us if he could have. Still, I miss him.

This past week my husband, who loves to read to me, read me this passage from the book “The Best of  T. De Witt Talmage.” He knew it would comforted me. And it did. I have thought about it ever since. 

Mr. Talmage was a great preacher from the 1800’s. This is an excerpt from one of his sermons.  If you’ve lost a loved one, maybe this will comfort you as well. I hope so.

An old writer tells us of a ship coming from India to France. The crew was made up of French sailors who had been long from home; years gone away from their families;  and as the ship came along by the coast of France the men became uncontrollable, and they skipped the deck with glee. and they pointed to the spires of the churches where they had once worshiped and to the hills where they had played in boyhood. But,  the writers says,  that when the ship came into the port, and these sailors saw the father and mother and wife and loved ones on the wharf,  and heard the loved ones call them by their names, they sprang ashore and rushed up the banks into the city and the captain had to get another crew to bring the ship to her moorings.

Thus, heaven, our fatherland,  will after awhile be so fully in sight, we can see its towers and we can see its mansions, and we can see its hills; and as we go into port and our loved ones shall call from that shining shore and speak our names, we will spring to the beach, leaving this old ship of a world to be managed by another crew, our rough voyage of the seas ended forever.

Still, I miss him.

After he died, I posted the above picture of us on Facebook with this caption: One of the last things Daddy asked me was ” Are you leaving?” I said “Daddy, I’m not leaving you….Don’t you leave me.” but just like the photo, he did. 

I’ve always loved that picture of us…never realizing the significance of it until he died. And that’s how I feel, still, to this day. Lost. But comforted at the same time. Because of this blessed hope we have a Christians…that we don’t have to say goodbye to our loved ones forever…just for a little while.

So, Jesus. please take care of my daddy until I can see him again. And tell him, I miss him, still.

How to Please God Every Single Day

how-to-please-god

Did you know there is a simple explanation as to how to please God every day of our life? Seriously.

I read a meme on Facebook yesterday that said something to the effect that if God was good enough to wake me up this morning and let me live another day,  then I would repay Him by being better today, than I was yesterday. 

I’m sure you’ve seen it or something similar. And isn’t that what we all strive to do or at least know we should? The question in all of this is, how can we please God? How do we be a better person today?

Did you know when John baptized Jesus and God spoke from the Heavens “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased” …all Jesus had ever done was to work in his father’s carpenter shop?

He had done no miracles. He had not healed the sick. He certainly had not raised the dead. He just did his job. Wow. He just did his job. That’s something all of us can do. Our job.

Jesus did his best, everyday, with whatever task was set before him. He didn’t try to just get by on the job. He gave it his best.

Apparently, that’s what pleases God Almighty. Our best, everyday. So if you’re wondering what can I possibly do to please God? Take a look around……and ask: what has God placed in my life for me to do today? And whatever it is, (for me this week it was cleaning out closets and cooking for my family.) Next week it will be something else. But the point is that whatever God gives us to do, everyday,  brings Glory to our Heavenly Father and pleases Him. 

“Do all to the glory of God” was lived out in the life of the person who chiseled this flower. What an awesome reflection of his testimony. Without saying a word,  he left us an inspiring message of his faith. Faith that his life counted for something. His work ethic shows he understood he was placed here for a purpose and had a duty to do his best…first to God, then to others and also to himself.

cathedral-corner

Someone, an unknown man~ lost to history, painstakingly chiseled beautiful flowers on a cathedral,  even though it would remain unseen by the naked eye for centuries. Forever,  for all he knew!

When asked why go to that much trouble carving something no one would ever see,  the craftsmen building the great cathedrals in Europe would say…

“God sees.”

I love this story. It always inspires me to do my best, even when no one is looking. Even if I get no credit for what I do. God knows when I do my best. And He knows when I am just getting by.

It’s called a work ethic. It’s something we instill in our children by our own example, everyday.

That should be our motto and work ethic every single day. Not that anyone else knows, but that God knows and like Jesus said. “Your Father,  who sees what is done in secret,  will reward you.” 

What else had Jesus done? He studied God’s word. He obeyed his parents. He was respectful of God’s requirements. All of which is doable and pleasing to God.

So, what will you be doing this week to please God? I’m going to start on another closet.

 

New Creation aka Poppy Lamp

I posted this 3 years ago but thought it worthy of sharing again…..  There’s a powerful lesson here and I needed to read it again…Maybe you do, too.

I hope you have a blessed Sunday!

Behold I make all things new. That is an amazing truth in the Bible. The truth that when a person accepts Jesus Christ as his/her personal savior…all the things we ever did in the past are completely forgiven. And we become a new creation.

The old is passed away and we are a new, totally forgiven person. While some of us….all of us….continue to make mistakes and sin against ourselves, others and God, it’s comforting to know that along with our salvation comes the right to approach God for forgiveness.

I was confronted last week with the realization that I had been less than forgiving of someone I ran into from my past. I hadn’t seen this man for years but I knew back then that he had been horrible to his wife. Abusive. Horribly abusive.   He had done things, that in my opinion,  were absolutley unforgivable and inexcusable!

And when I saw him,  I was visiting a church and he was leading the singing!   Honestly, I just couldn’t believe he had the nerve to even accept such an honorable position! IN A CHURCH no less!  This came to my mind several times over the past few months and I continued to be apalled.

And last week it suddenly hit me. I’ve done things that were wrong. I knew better and yet in moments of weakness gave in to sin. Things I’m ashamed of. And I have asked the Lord to forgive me of my transgressions and I know He has.

And yet, people who know of my sin may not know that I have repented of them and been forgiven. They may even look at me and think who does she think she is?  Just as I was doing this man! Oh my goodness.

That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks. The truth is, that man has obviously repented and here a I am judging him. I’m not privy to his heart nor his most personal life. Just as others are not privy to mine.

The revelation I recieved from all of this is that, we are not to judge others. I know I am stating the obvious, but how easy it is to see someone and think back to what they were back then….when we don’t know what the Lord has brought them through and to.

In fact, to be Christians we are to extend MERCY to others because we ourselves are in such dire need of it.  So, I repented. I asked the Lord to forgive my arrogance and pride.

I understand the apostle Paul’s heartfelt cry when he said he was the chiefest of all sinners! I can so relate. I know I’m in need of his mercy and therfore I must extend it to everyone, even to those whose hearts I know not.

Oh, but this post is about a lamp…my little new creation…. It in no way compares to God’s gift to us when we are saved. But in some small way it shows how we have so much potential to be so much more than the people who ‘knew us before’ could ever have imagined.

I hope you get my drift….

This is the lamp I found in an old thrift shop. It’s seen better days and its owners obviously thought it had nothing left of value and it was discarded.

Isn’t that how we are before God steps in and says “I see potential in you.”

lamp before - Copy (2)

I took my daughter with me to see the lamp I had found. I thought it would look great in her den.  She had a hard time seeing any virtue in the old thing.

I said, “You’re just going to have to trust me.”

jennys lamp before - Copy

I primed it, covered all the blemished and made it whiter than snow…..ummm ~ what an interesting concept.

lamp base primed

Her den is green with red sofa and so I decided to paint the back ground green and somehow create poppies in some of the indentions….

Isn’t that the way we are? We can’t see anything but our shortcomings and can’t see past them to what we could be.

If we could just figure out a way to release our potential to someone who could do something with us……hummm… you do see the poppies ~ don’t you?

lamp base painted green

lamp base flowers - Copy (2)

I thought of the lines in Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts’ character “Vivian” gives her friend “Kit” some money because “You’ve got potential” and then later that same friend gives some of the money to her friend because “you got potential.”

That’s what God says about each and everyone of us. He takes us as we are or as we have made ourselves….a plu-perfect mess and feeling worthless and God says “You’ve got potential.”

And even tho we may not want to believe it or we can’t see it, there’s someone who sees the potential in us….after all…This is the Creator who made the world out of nothing…surely he can make something out of you and me.

God says “Trust me, you’ve got potential.”

jennifers lamp

I bought a new shade and  painted a new finial to match.  My husband put a new switch on and rewired it….

My daughter claims she had faith in me all along…. 🙂

Who knew life lessons could be learned from something as mundane as a lamp make-over.?

My lesson for this week….I will look beyond what I can see and find the potential in others…and I will extend mercy to all.  Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy!

So dear reader,  remember that Someone far greater than me has already made it loud and clear He thinks you are more than worth it….In His eyes You have GREAT POTENTIAL! He who makes all things new can make something awesome out of you….just Trust Him.

jennifers poppy lamp makeover

I pray your day and the coming week is blessed and that the Lord himself will show you just how much potential He sees in you….warts and all.

Vintage Lamp Makeover

JRenee signature

 

God is Blessing You

 

Watzmann at sunset with church, Bavaria, Berchtesgaden, Germany Alps

Watzmann at sunset with church, Bavaria, Berchtesgaden, Germany Alps

I hope everyone is enjoying a beautiful Sunday…. May you wrap yourself in the warmth and knowledge that God is blessing you this day!

 

Counting Our Blessings 2015

This morning my husband and I went out to watch the first sunrise of the New Year. It’s a little tradition we have.  We’ve watched the New Year’s sunrise, every New Year’s morning for over a decade.  But this year, the sky was shrouded in clouds.

Faith 2016

We couldn’t see the sun coming up.  I was disappointed, but I knew, in this orderly universe God created, that even though I couldn’t see it rising in the East, I knew that behind those clouds was the sun, shining as brightly as ever.

As I watched the horizon for any trace of sunshine, I was reminded of things I’d prayed and hoped for this past year.  As I thought back over the events of 2015,  I could see that God was moving in our lives …(you know hindsight is 20/20)….even tho at the time I couldn’t see.   Somewhere, behind the clouds of my life,  the God I serve was moving.

I wrote most of this post sitting in the car “watching the sunrise.” (that I couldn’t see)   And on the way home, I handed what I had written to my husband to read….then we started counting our blessings of 2015. The list went on and on….for us, for our children, for our extended family, our jobs, our home,  for our friends.  We were amazed at our list. Wow.

Of course the year had its share of difficulties. Growth doesn’t take place on the mountain top….it’s in the valleys that growth takes place. Although trials are no fun… looking back we could see that by placing our faith in Him, we made it through. That increases our faith.

I’m glad the sun wasn’t shining for us to see this morning…it made me start the new year off by looking back and seeing what God did for us last year. I was encouraged to realize that God was faithful in the big things,  as well as the little things. In the good times and the difficult times.

Were all my prayers answered? No, not at all… But seeing what God has done in the past, increases my faith for the future…that He will continue to work,  as He has promised.  It’s good to know we can be confident in the new year, that whether we see it or not, God is actively involved in things that pertain to us. He has promised that  

“He will accomplish everything He is set forth to do in our lives”. Isaiah 55:11

So for us, looking back and seeing God’s hand in our lives strengthens our faith. And that’s a very good….because…. the more our faith grows,  the more we please Him. 

“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11:6

So dear reader, I pray you know God is blessing you this year, even when you can’t see it…

I pray you know it’s Him.

Every Good and Perfect gift is from above. James 1:17

And I wish each and every one of you a very Happy New Year!